Cedar Stars Academy forward Christopher Katona. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
By Ralph 'Onz' Chery
Sept. 14th, 2018
Cedar Stars Academy striker Christopher Katona rolled his MVP campaign of last season right into this new season, winning the first Player of the Week award for scoring four goals versus Zum Schneider F.C. in his side’s 6-1 win on Sunday.
Katona was thrilled to start the season on the winning column with the Stars.
“I’ve enjoyed a nice three-week break and recovery, but it was just too long away from soccer and the guys. I’m fully recovered from my injuries from the NPSL [abdomen and right oblique] and wanted to come out on a winning note to start the CSL season,” the forward said.
“At the end of the day, as long as we have one more goal than the other team, that’s all that matters to me. I’ll do anything I can in achieving those results.”
Katona steered Matthew Nigro’s 40-yard pass to the lower right corner of the net on a breakaway to score his first goal. Nigro led Katona to his second goal as well.
Walter Calderon assisted the 28-year-old’s third goal as he made a dazzling run in Zum’s box before releasing the ball to Katona, who coolly tapped a shot in the net.
“He’s fluent on the ball with a very high IQ and unselfishness play,” Katona said about Calderon.
He later added: “I’ve said it before, he is pure talent, sometimes unnoticed on the box score, but a game changer when he steps foot on the field. Luckily, he plays alongside of me.”
Katona netted his fourth goal by charging in Zum’s box from midfield before clipping a shot off the right near post in a counter attack.
CSA played the match without several of their key players, including ex MLSers Dilly Duka, Julius James and defensive stalwart Hani Nasr.
“It was a different look to start the season missing most of our starters,” Katona said about playing in a different starting XI. “With additions of Bledi Bardic, Kevin Kappock, Dwight Ceballo, they stepped into key roles throughout the game. [Coaches] Oliver [Papraniku] and Bujar [Gjata] always prepare and have contributors on our deep roster that can start on any other team.
“My mindset wasn’t any different than any other game, with or without our starters. I’m ready to go the full 90 minutes and leave it on the field with the guys. The outcome ended up in our corner, with a score of 6-1. It’s a good way to start the season.”
Katona’s next game with the Stars is the club’s massive fixture versus Lansdowne Yonkers F.C., in which CSA’s new coach Austin Friel will be going against his former side on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. at Verrazano Complex in the Rapaglia Cup.
Shamrocks forward Travis Blair—2 goals versus Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. in 3-1 win
Cedar Stars midfielder Matthew Nigro—3 assists versus Zum Schneider F.C. 03 in 6-1 win
Hoboken F.C. 1912’s Jeremy Witherspoon—2 goals vs Central Park Rangers in 4-0 win
Cedar Stars forward Bledi Bardic—2 goals vs Zum Schneider F.C. 03 in 6-1 win
NY Greek Americans defensive midfielder Shaun ‘Fozzy’ Foster—2 goals vs Doxa S.C. in 3-2 win